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The Search For Fun - Shed Life - Part 2

The Evolution of Good Clean Fun...
Shed Life
Part 2

The concept of Good Clean Fun was so unplanned and uncomplicated, even with all the steps to its fruition: life was simple back in spring/summer of 1974. Even though I was living my life commitment to become an explorer / traveler of the seafaring world, I was free enough to let things happen and see what being alive was all about: a way of life, a new lifestyle was unfolding. The “plan” was about keeping life open to allow in what was meant to be. The move to Cayucos was so special and amazing.

Growing up in Southern California suburbia was not my calling at all, as I‘ve mentioned before. After high school all I could think about was getting away from the masses and finding secluded spaces. When I left home, my folks let me know they would help financially if I went to college. But if I were to go off in search of the perfect wave, like I´d been doing, I was on my own. This was enough motivation for me to build the 31’ trimaran and live a spartan life for maybe a year.  The cash for the endeavor came from hard work on Maui and from a checkered lifestyle I was leaving behind. The life from the neighborhood I grew up in was rife with friends who are long dead or still in prison. It became clear to me early on that embracing the power of freedom was the way to go. The temptation of money and danger had to be left behind, so leaving home was easy.  My dad told me back then, “you hang out with dogs, you get fleas!”  So true!

Acquiring the shed from Al Scaltritti was honestly the biggest milestone in my life. Not only was it ever man’s dream workshop, but I had the fringe benefit of living there. This very nonconformist, bohemian living situation was right up my alley. My move to little Cayucos blew me wide open to life and extinguished the shadow of suburbia. I knew no one other than my buddy Ron who had built his trimaran there.  But once I started circulating around Cayucos and the surrounding area, I met people who were so genuine and friendly, beyond anything I´d experienced in my travels. Life felt innocent compared to Hawaii and the Southern California experience. Maui held the attraction of the great surf, but living there I found the Aloha, in and out of the water, was all but gone. The people in the water were angry and I couldn’t deal with it. I´d heard about surfing the Central Coast, and had surfed the Gaviota Coast and Jalama. But I knew nothing about this magical new area. I was not looking for Hawaiian style big waves; I WAS looking for that Aloha spirit. I found out quickly that Big Sur to Point Conception had some of the best waves in the world. But, like everywhere, these waves came at a cost: cold water!

What I did notice right away in that era was how empty the beaches and waves were. Often nobody around and lots of open space (for the most part it´s still the same). My first experience meeting local surfers was at the Cayucos Pier. Even back then there was a public parking lot at the pier where everyone gathered; turned out to be close to where the shop is now.  My first meeting with the Cayucos Surf Tribe was so memorable. I’d pulled up to the pier to look at the waves and watch the sunset and noticed a group of surfers around a bonfire with boards stacked and leaning against the pier. Waves were peeling off behind this group with no one out. The waves looked good to me. I was in my pickup with my board in the back and I heard a tap on my window.

There stood a long-haired blond surfer guy; he introduced himself as Bill Barnes (RIP). I rolled the window down and he asked me, “where did you surf today?” We talked surf for a bit and he asked me down to the bonfire where his friends were, and I met some local people.

I was blown away to be accepted like this in such a short time. After a few beers and some smoke I had new lifelong friends. Bill Barnes, Jeff and Linda Powell, Tommy Grantham, Tam, David Stevens, the Avery Brothers... the list goes on and on. This was the original and genuine Tribe. My friend Ron Metheny had never surfed Cayucos even though he built his boat there, but he was, even so, very well known for his local accomplishment.

So I appear with a plan identical to Ron’s, to build a boat, and everybody was impressed that I’d procured the shed from Al. Cayucos folk were amazed Al and I got together, and that he’d rented me the building; this local surf tribe, who had some genuine bad asses in it, were all intimidated by Al Scaltritti in some way. So I gained some sort of respect for getting his approval. I knew Al had some issues with us long haired, pot smoking hippies, but, unbelievably, Al ended up respecting and accepting me by way of the Shed. This was a pivotal step in becoming part of Cayucos and an important part of life in general.

Getting busy and moving my stuff into the shed required a strategic game plan. I needed to get some sort of job to feed myself. I needed to find a small trailer to park inside the shed to cook and sleep in. I started going to job sites for drywall work.  At that time, not much was going on in the small housing construction and I was over hanging and taping drywall anyway -- it was too hard on the body for sure.

While living on Maui I’d had a side job glassing and repairing surfboards and anything fiberglass that needed repair. I made great money and always had work. Self-taught, I made my first surfboard in my parent’s driveway at 14 years old. It was a kit with the foam blank, resin, fiberglass, the works, that I purchased at Seal Beach Fibercraft for $49. Resin all over the place and my dad was pissed: I had to chisel the drops off the garage floor and anything to do with boards and resin was now forbidden. So my neighborhood buddies and I got permission to build a shed out back of the garage which became our little board shop. I became pretty good at building boards early on: when I lived on Maui
I’d been in demand for repairing and glassing fins on boards from Lightning Bolt and a few other board factories there. Board repair was a great way to be popular with the local surf crowd in Hawaii, so it was worth a try on the
Central Coast.

I made flyers and passed them out from the Cayucos Pier to Morro Rock to see if I could get some work going. I'd meet people at the pier for pickup and drop off -- there were no cell phones, computers, or social media back then. Meeting at the pier avoided traffic at the shed. It was so basic and simple, and I was starting to get busy and meet more surfers.

One of the greatest couples I met at the first bonfire at the pier were Jeff and Linda Powell. They, too, had a nautical dream going on and had just purchased a small 27’ Cheoy Lee sailboat in Morro Bay.

Their plan was to live on the boat in Avila and get her ready to sail south. They had been living in a small 18 ft. trailer that they were selling.

The way Jeff had fixed it up inside, it very much resembled a boat, mahogany paneling and wood countertops and tables. It was a perfect fit for my shed life needs: great bunk, double sink, three burner stove, oven, and dinette. I came up with a shower and deck off the back of the shed. I installed a small water heater in the little toilet room in the shed and bam! I was living comfortably with all the creature comforts. I built an 8’ by 8’ layout table, big enough to pull out plans and cut out bulk heads.

I put up a hammock over the table for afternoon siestas. In the corner of the shed was a small wood burning stove someone had abandoned, and I figured out a way to put it all together without too much danger of burning down the building and had nightly fires to burn scraps of boat wood. I met some great people back then and tools were being donated or purchased for next to nothing. Very quickly, I had a complete shop with table saws, band saws... you name it, I had it. The project was starting to unfold. The shed was my new castle!

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